Haidee Wasson, PhD
Professor (Film Studies), Cinema
Haidee Wasson's published work concentrates on cinema but explores the broader relations among moving images, technology, art, and culture. Her recent work focuses on portable film technologies, with a particular interest in the ways that the museum, industry, and the military have provided platforms for new ideas about, and uses of, cinema. Her latest book Everyday Movies (University of California Press, 2021) specifically examines the history of portable projectors and their importance for expanding what films look like, how they have been seen, what they were for, and why we watch them. This book, in particular, argues that portable projections have long overshadowed movie theaters, serving as the site wherein the vast majority of movies have been encountered throughout the 20th Century. Small projectors helped to make movies a normalized element of everyday life, and hence far more than occasional events marked off by big-screen magic. Small-gauge film formats enabled a radical diversification of film languages, from non-fiction to experimental, from science films to pornography. She lectures internationally on these and other subjects. She is currently working on several projects related to the 100-year history of 16mm film (1923 - 2023) and other small film formats.
Dr. Wasson has won numerous awards and research grants including Doctoral, Post-Doctoral and Faculty grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fulbright Foundation, and the McKnight Landgrant Foundation. In 2015, she was named a University Research Fellow, Concordia University. In 2017, she was awarded the distinguished Service Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies as well as the Provost's Circle of Distinction Award, Concordia University, for her career accomplishments.
She previously taught in the Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Department, University of Minnesota and in the Visual and Environmental Studies Program, Harvard University.
Dr. Wasson's previous work has similarly probed the uses of cinema beyond the movie theatre. Cinema's Military Industrial Complex (2018, University of California Press, co-edited with Lee Grieveson), for instance, addresses the long and complex role that the American military has played in developing and implementing film technologies, and otherwise integrating filmmaking and watching into its operations. Her award-winning book Museum Movies (UC Press, 2005) examines the importance of the modern art museum for ideas and practices of cinema. She also co-edited (with Dr. Lee Grieveson) a collection of essays that explores how film came to be thought of as a university-based activity and source of knowledge, Inventing Film Studies (Duke UP, 2008); and (with Dr. Charles Acland) the award-winning Useful Cinema (Duke UP, 2011), a book about the enduring and dynamic functions and form that films have taken beyond the movie theater. Dr. Wasson also co-edited an innovative book series (with Dr. Lee Grieveson) for the BFI devoted to exploring international cultural histories of cinema: .
She also founded and served as project-lead for Fieldnotes, an oral history project run under the aegis of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) to explore the history of film, television and moving image study by way of interviewing key figures who have shaped that field. Click here to listen to and/or watch interviews with Thomas Elsaesser, Tom Gunning, Linda Williams, Laura Mulvey, Mary Ann Doane and fifty other formative scholars. ( )
Dr. Wasson is also active in academic service, working as Graduate Program Director, Area Head (Film Studies – School of Cinema), and Associate Dean of Research (Faculty of Fine Arts). She has also served on Faculty Council (Fine Arts), Senate (Concordia University) The Board of Governors (Concordia University) and as an elected member of the Executive Board of the Society of Cinema and Media Studies.
Emergent media, film technology, cultural institutions, film and media theory, feminism, film and media historiography.
Photo credit: Duke UP, 2011
Photo credit: University of California Press
Photo credit: University of California Press, 2021
Everyday Movies: Portable Projectors and the Transformation of American Film Culture (University of California, 2021). 274 pp.
Cinema’s Military Industrial Complex, co-edited with Lee Grieveson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018) 379pp.
Useful Cinema, co-edited with Dr. Charles Acland [Duke University Press, 2011] 386 pp. [Best Edited Collection – SCMS – honorable mention; Krasna-Krausz Book Awards 2012 – Finalist for Best Moving Image Book Award.]
Inventing Film Studies: A Genealogy of Studying Cinema (co-edited with Dr. Lee Grieveson) (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008) 446 pp.
Museum Movies: MoMA and the Birth of Art Cinema (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005) 314 pp. *Outstanding Academic Title 2005 (American Library Association)
Chapters in Books (select):
“Cinema and Industrial Design: New Media Ecologies and the Exhibition Film” in Films that Work Harder. Vinzenz Hediger, Florian Hoof, and Yvonne Zimmerman (Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press) [essay submitted; in process]
“The Military and American Cinema” [with Lee Grieveson] in Cinema’s Military Industrial Complex, co-edited with Lee Grieveson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018) 1-24.
“Experimental Viewing Protocols: Film Projection and the American Military,” Cinema’s Military Industrial Complex, co-edited with Lee Grieveson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018) 25-43.
“Verstärktes Licht und Moduliertes Sehen: Kinogeschichten vom Experimentieren mit kleinen Bildschirmen” [Amplified Light and Modulated Looking: Cinema Histories of Small Screen Experimentation] in Oberflachen und Interfaces: Asthetik und Politik filmischer [Surfaces and Interfaces: Aesthetics and Politics of Filmic Images ed Ute Holl et al. (Munich: Finkverlag, 2017) [7,700 words]
“Researching Film Formats: The Quick Search and Slow Scholarship” for The ARCLIGHT Guidebook to Media History and the Digital Humanities (Reframe Books: 2016) (www.projectarclight.org)
“Selling Machines: Portable Projectors and Advertising at the World’s Fair” in Films that Sell: Moving Pictures and Advertising eds. Nico De Klerk, Bo Florin, and Patrick Vonderau, eds (BFI, 2016) 54-70.
“The Elastic Museum” TheInternational Handbook of Museum Studies: Museum Media First Edition. Edited by Michelle Henning, (Wiley& Sons, 2015) 603-627.
"Big, Fast Museums / Small, Slow Movies: Film, Scale and the Art Museum" in Useful Cinema, co-edited with Dr. Charles Acland (Duke University Press, 2011) 178-204. http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/977436/
*“Documentary’s Exhibitionary Complex: Cinema, Industrial Design and Corporate Dreamworlds” Imago Vol VIII, no 1 (2017)
*”Entering the Movie Theater” [introduction to special issue on movie theaters] Film History: An International Journal. Vol 28, No 2 (2016) pp. v-xi.
“Verkaufsmaschinen. Film und filmische Techniken auf der New Yorker Weltausstellung
1939/1940” Montage A/V (02/2015) 161-178. Trans. “Selling Machines: Portable Projectors and Advertising at the World’s Fair” in Nico De Klerk, Bo Florin, and Patrick Vonderau, eds. Films that Sell (BFI, 2016) 54-70.
“Formatting Film Studies” Film Studies 12 (Spring2015) 57 – 61.
“Verkaufsmaschinen. Film und filmischeTechniken auf der New Yorker Weltausstellung 1939/1940” Montage A/V (02/2015)161-178.
“The Protocols of Portability” Film History vol. 25, No. 1-2 (2013): 236-247.
“Moving Images: Portable Histories of Film Exhibition” The International Encyclopedia of MediaStudies: Media History and the Foundations of Media Studies. John Nerone,ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) 367-384.
“Suitcase Cinema” Cinema Journal (51.2) Winter 2012: 150-154.
"Introduction" [In Focus: Screen Technologies] Cinema Journal 51.2 (Winter 2012): 143-146. http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/977433/
"Roundtable on the History of Film Studies in Canada" (co-organized with Mike Zryd) Participants: Peter Morris, Kay Armatage, John Locke, Andre Gaudrault, Maurice Yacowar. Canadian Journal of Film Studies (20.1) Spring 2011: 117-137. http://www.filmstudies.ca/journal/pdf/cj-film studies201_history_canadian_film_studies_roundtable.pdf
"Small Discipline, Big Ideas" Synoptique (May 2010) http://www.synoptique.ca/core/articles/wasson_haidee_dudley_andrew/
"Electric Homes! Automatic Movies! Efficient Entertainment!: Domesticity and the 16mm Projector in the 1920s" Cinema Journal 48.4 (Fall 2009): 1-21. http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/977442/
"Studying Movies at the Museum: The Museum of Modern Art and Cinema's Changing Object." in Inventing Film Studies, co-edited with Lee Grieveson (Duke University Press, 2008) 121-148. http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/977437/
"Suitcase Cinema" trans as "Kofferkino: Zur Gestichte Kinematografischer Portabiität" [German] for Cargo: Film/Medien/Kultur 18, 2013: 38-41. http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/977432/
"Suitcase Cinema" Cinema Journal 51.2 (Winter 2012): 150-154. http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/977441/
Cinema’s MilitaryIndustrial Complex, co-edited with Lee Grieveson (Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 2018) 379pp.
Useful Cinema, co-edited with Dr.Charles Acland [Duke University Press, 2011] 386 pp. [Best Edited Collection –SCMS – honorable mention; Krasna-Krausz Book Awards 2012 – Finalist for BestMoving Image Book Award.]
Inventing Film Studies: A Genealogy of StudyingCinema (co-edited withDr. Lee Grieveson) (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008) 446 pp.
Museum Movies: MoMA and the Birth of Art Cinema (Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 2005) 314 pp. *Outstanding Academic Title 2005 (AmericanLibrary Association)